Monday, November 27, 2023

Giving Tuesday

NOTE:  I am posting some pictures of rescues from this year that have been adopted.  This is just a smattering of cats I've rescued this year...  Remember, I've rescued over 80, just 40 or so pictures here..  I could spend all day...

There is so much for me to be thankful for.  First and foremost are my donors.  Second, are the food donations I receive from friends and those I don't even know ..  Third are my fosters, and lastly my adopters!  Without 1, 2, 3, and 4, I could not do what I am doing.  And doing so for over 30 years.  Burnout?  Oh God yes.  I haven't had a day off since knee surgery.  Then I had to pay someone to do my route and I am very very grateful.  This was ...  three years ago?  Imagine having to get up every single morning of your life, in the dark, and go out to the car, sometimes in frigid weather, sometimes in rain and snow storms, and drive a few miles to feed the cats.  Every. Single. Day.  

I have 24 colonies, six of which Esther volunteers to do, and we do this every other day.  On the days in between, I still go out to two spots, one on Parsells Avenue, where the cats there has no shelter because of the despicable human beings that live there and won't allow a shelter anywhere, and the other on Fourth Street and Central Avenue, where there is a colony of cats that I feed under a church van that hasn't been used in years.  I have shelters hidden behind the fence on the vacant lot next door, but this is where I feed them daily.  Here, there is an evil person who comes along EVERY SINGLE DAY and removes the water and food.  There is no reason for this, it's just pure evil.  To take the water away from the cats on 90-degree days is utterly cruel.

My main goal when I started this long ago, was to rescue the adult cats I saw on the side of the streets, eating garbage and just trying to survive.  Most were strays, and those that people left behind as they continued their journey of moving from house to house with Section 8 assistance.  But in the past years, there has been an influx of kittens.  And my name is now, unwantedly, on a list that is given out by veterinarians, and other rescues no less, of being of assistance.  I get calls and emails asking for help to rehome, to help the kittens in the backyard, to help the injured, to help with everyone else's problems.  I sometimes pass on these requests to Kristin who doesn't have the heart to ignore them, whereas I am totally overwhelmed by the rescued animals I am already dealing with.

I have treated two kittens this year that have cost me a total of $3,000.  One was at the rip-off Green Acres in Buffalo because we had no other emergency locations to take cats to in Rochester.  The reason for that is because of staff shortages and greedy corporations.

From the streets, I have rescued close to 80 cats this year, with the help of fosters first, and then getting them adopted.  My vet bills are insane.  I am paying $1,000 + per MONTH at Rochester Community Animal Clinic.  Their prices have risen and I lose money with adoption fees because most times, the animals need to be seen for one reason or another and those visits are on average $200+  The food to feed these cats:

This is twice a week.  Over $300 to order food for me and food for Esther.

You ask, how long can this go on?  My friends and mom tell me all the time to give it up, but how can I do that?  Cats literally RUN to my truck.  They know the sound and they know my voice.  They cannot eat on their own.  Contrary to what others believe, they can't live on mice, garbage, etc. 


I am doing my best, but I need help doing it.  Please consider donating to my rescue today, tomorrow on Giving Tuesday, or when you have a spare dollar.  I accept food donations also and am happy to send my address so that it can be delivered, or personally delivered by you.

One last note, thank you to my paid volunteers who go out with me time after time, and those who had to take a break.  If I could pay more I would do it.  Since I broke my ankle (while feeding cats!) four years ago, my balance isn't great, so cannot trek the vacant lots anymore.

Please give from the heart what you can tomorrow, Giving Tuesday.

Many thanks,

Have a great day!

PS, My website needs updating!

Friday, September 8, 2023

The City - Once Again

Hello!  It's been a whirlwind summer.  I have once again rescued well over 50 cats from the streets, I am sure it is more. but we have not tallied it up due to the fact that Google Drive erased half my information because I keep very good records of each cat with any information on them as possible.  Most were kittens, but we rescued some adult cats which it was obvious they had been dumped at some point and just didn’t belong on the street.

I am having a serious problem right now with one of my shelters.  It's on Seventh Street, tucked into a small corner in the back of a vacant lot.  There are about 8 small, wooden shelters underneath boards and a large brand new brown tarp.  It has been there for over 10 years and has housed and sheltered many cats during our wicked wintery weather months.  Today, it houses an over 10-year-old tabby that calls this home and a beautiful grey cat that will actually be rescued next week as I’ve been offered to have him fostered by a kind couple.  It's home to many cats, we just don’t see them when we are there to feed every other day for less than five minutes. 

The reason that the city has been made aware of this is because a crazy woman leased this lot to use as a garden.  She never did, and for the summer, she burned wood and brought the craziest pieces of furniture to use there.  She had a pulpit, church benches, and other crazy stuff.  She planted plastic flowers all over the place too.  Neighbors eventually complained, and the city came by and told her to take a hike and remove all her crazy stuff.  That’s when they spotted my shelter in the corner in the back, where there was a flier with my information on it.  I received a call from Chris Fitzgerald who I believe originally tried to help me.  I wrote him an email with many facts, and he shared that with his boss, and several other top city people, and he still came back to me telling me that wanted the shelters gone.  Here is my initial letter to Chris:

Good morning, Chris, I am sorry we didn't connect yesterday. Hopefully, you received the message I left you at 5:03 last evening  :)

I am afraid I am guilty of not contacting Diane Powell and David Langley, who both have reached out to me.  It's been a long time since the City has challenged the future of one of my shelters and I am not great at negotiation.

I have many reasons why the shelter on the vacant lot on 7th Street should not be moved:

1.  First and foremost, this lot would not be an issue if the woman who 'leased' the lot for a garden from the City this past spring hadn't damaged the property and had neighbors complain about her and the crazy setup she had.  My shelter is tucked into the back corner and has been for over 10 years now and is barely noticeable.  I have never had a complaint about it in all this time.  It has been home to many cats over the years and has saved countless lives from the harsh winter storms we have.   When this woman started her ‘garden’, she trashed the lot and did not use it as a garden. 

2.  There are many cats that call this home.  They have been there for over seven years.  As you know, there are just some cats that you can't rescue because they never warm up to you, so I've left them but still care for them.  There is, however, one cat that runs to us as we pull up there that is the next on our list to rescue, he is so sweet.  We just need to free up the few fosters I have so that we can take him.  All cats there have been neutered and vaccinated and do not cause any harm to anyone.

3.  As far as pest control, I feed these cats every other day due to the cost.  I leave them food and return to pick up any remaining food that same day.  These cats are great at catching mice and rodents because they leave me little ‘presents’ sometimes. Cats will eat anything when they are hungry.  Sadly enough.

3.  The shelters there are all handmade wooden shelters.  We call them 'the apartments' as they could house many cats if needed.  You can't see them as there is wood around it to keep the snow out, and a board and tarp over them.  We are planning on replacing the tarp with a brand-new one that will blend in and will not be noticed.

4.  As you might recall, I met with city officials several years ago, and with Karen St. Aubin's help two years ago, I understood I had an 'unwritten agreement’ that if I placed my rescue information in the shelters, they would not be removed.

5.  The city has also acknowledged my work of TNR and rescuing by honoring me with a proclamation for a Janine Wagner Day in November back in 2014.

I have attached the articles that have been written about me, my website, and my blog I started to write about what I do since 2012.  I’ve even attached a picture of the lot after this woman was supposed to start a garden.

In closing, I hope and pray the city allows this shelter to stay.  I cannot relocate these cats, and there is not a vacant lot nearby to move to.


I then wrote a letter to Diane Powell, head of the vacant lots, etc.  Here is that letter:


Dear Ms. Powell,

I apologize for the delay in reaching out to you. I was hoping this situation with my cat shelter in the vacant lot on Seventh Street would have been resolved with my last email, which I believe Chris Fitzgerald copied you on. Between my full time job, and trying to help save the animal world in Rochester (we rescues get dozens of calls for help from the public with cats and kittens on a weekly basis), I find myself pulling my hair out when I have time to breathe, rather than dealing with yet another situation that is wrong with this city.

I attach pictures that show the improvement of the lot – we mowed the long grass and cut down and removed a dead tree limb – both creating an eyesore on this once beautiful piece of land before the crazy woman received a garden permit and ruined the lot by burning wood and bringing insane objects onto the lawn.  She is the only reason this land has come to light – because of her disrespect for the permit she was issued.  I also had a garden permit on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and Fourth Street where I had planted beautiful grasses, annual flowers, and vegetables.  In addition to the shelter, we have also added a new tarp that further hides the shelter from prying eyes.

I hope that city officials, and I mean no disrespect to you, are worrying about the mayhem in our city rather than removing the only shelter that these cats have from harm and inclement weather, especially with our long brutal winter looming ahead.  There is so much sadness that all homeless animals are facing, especially with our only emergency service closing at the end of November.  Please give these animals a break.

I look forward to hearing back from you at your convenience.


So there you have it.  I have been getting messages from Chris asking me if I want help to move the shelters.  There is no other vacant lot on that street, and what is the actual reason they want it moved?  I think he mentioned in his last voicemail that someone wanted to use the lot as a garden lease.  I don’t believe it.

The other problem is, that I don’t have the fight I had back in 2016 when they removed a shelter from Short Street. We met at the mayor’s office and did a few news stories and videos.  Since then I really have had no problem.  And that was thanks to Karin St. Aubin who was in the position that Diane Powell is now in, where we had an unwritten agreement that if I left my fliers in the shelters, I should be safe.

If anyone has a true suggestion or can write on my behalf, or do anything, please help me.

Here are the kittens we are getting soon, and here are those we have already in foster (and don't forget, these are the precious babies we find on the streets most times - SHAME ON THE CITY OF ROCHESTER to try to hurt people in rescue!!!!!!:

AND those still on the street:

You can click on each photo to see close up.  Please consider foster and adoption, and please stick up for these city cats to the City of Rochester, and to Chris.Fitzgerald.  Thank you.

PS, we are in desperate need of dry and wet food for adult cats and kittens!

Have a great day!